Is Christopher Dorner dead? If so did he beat "The Man?" Alternatively, in his "defeat" by "The Man" will Dorner actually "triumph" in the long-term?
Alternet has my essay on Christopher Dorner as an archetypal figure in American (black) popular culture on the front page. I thank them for that gesture.
I shared said piece here on We Are Respectable Negroes a few days ago to a mixed response. Some "got" my curiosity about locating Dorner in a broader cultural mythos; a few other folks simply keyed in on his deviant behavior. As such, they could not go beyond that characterization.
Likewise, at The Daily Kos, two hundred or so comments later, a good number of folks were open to thinking critically about the cultural figure that is Christopher Dorner, what he symbolizes, and how some could see him as a hero. Other commenters simply defaulted to the fact that he killed several innocent people. Consequently, that makes any critical inquiry unnecessary and a type of excuse-making for a murderer.
I am legitimately confused. Do help me work through my thoughts about the varied and dichotomous reactions towards Christopher Dorner if you would be so patient.
I will state without qualification that he is a murder. Christopher Dorner killed several people. Because of that fact, he should have been subject to the maximum punishment under the law. However, Dorner's choice to kill several people in keeping with his crusade of vengeance does not eliminate difficult questions about the evils he identified in the LAPD. His tactics and strategy may be very questionable to some; nevertheless, the truth telling of his manifesto remains a quite accurate representation of how the LAPD has historically functioned as an organization.
With that obligatory statement aside, let us move forward.
Are those who are uncomfortable with critically interrogating Dorner's behavior, and the motivations for it, just very deferent to authority by nature? Are these folks especially prone to accepting the master frame without asking hard questions about Power and its motivations? Are they authoritarians?
Consequently, do Dorner's most impulsive detractors naturally see a man, one whose race may not be coincidental as an element in their rage towards him, as an existential threat?
Are those who see Chris Dorner as a hero simply elevating a man, one who they know little about, simply because of their own negative experiences with the police, the criminal "justice" system, racism, classism, or social inequality, more generally?
Is the idea of what Chris Dorner represents more compelling to his supporters in the abstract, than if he were actually operating in their communities? Is love for Dorner an example of "not in my back yard, but okay in theory" as applied to a vigilante?
Ultimately, is the answer more simple: could Dorner be a fantasy figure for every person stopped and harassed by the police, but who simply did not have the guts and the tradecraft to respond in kind?
I stand by my original read of Christopher Dorner. He is an anti-hero for no small number of people. His exploits will be talked about for many years. I have little to no faith in the mass media's version of Dorner's manifesto, nor of his career and its end. Professional liars in the corporate media do what they are paid to do: they dissemble, and by doing so, serve the master frame.
In response, some will point to the bureaucracy and how it deemed Dorner "guilty" and "irresponsible." The bureaucracy is an organ of State power. It is not neutral. More often than not, chosen outcomes are preordained; the machine is neither fair nor righteous. I have seen this first hand.
If you despise Christopher Dorner, please share why...and please do so with a full explanation as your thought process is very fascinating and revealing. If your argument is that "he killed some people," do refrain from commenting until you can share and formulate a closing for that claim. I am more interested in the part of the sentence which is "...and because he did that I believe xyz about his deeds and the nature of the accusations against him."
Likewise, if you see Christopher Dorner as a hero, please share why...and do so according to the same rubric. How and why do his deeds make him "heroic?" How do you define heroism? If he is an anti-hero (what I think both the griots and cultural memory in the future will will name him as), why so?